Wednesday, July 6, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Corporate tycoon, Dalit posterboy, now a Tamil Nadu MLA

Corporate tycoon, Dalit posterboy, now a Tamil Nadu MLA

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K Pandia Rajan, 50, can easily be the Dalit face that India Inc may
want to lock in for promoting 'affirmative action', the inclusiveness
agenda of the corporate sector aimed at providing more jobs to SCs and
STs. The only difference between him and others from such background
who built big businesses right from scratch, is his views on politics
and business, given his rooted understanding of both.

Pandia Rajan is a classic example of how access to opportunities, and
of course, hard work, can shape the future of an individual. He was
hardly a few months old when his father passed away and his mother
brought him up with the support from village folk. "So, I know, one
has to give back," he says.

An engineer with a management degree from XLRI, Jamshedpur, he set out
on his own on August 15, 1992. His human resources consulting firm Ma
Foi Randstad has a topline of Rs 965 crore, itself employing 1,500,
and 'temping' (temporary staffing—on its rolls, but on deputation at
client locations) another 55,000.

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For his party chief Vijayakant of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam
(DMDK), Pandia Rajan is a 'management guru' and indeed a good catch.
After a short stint with the BJP, which he joined in 2004, Rajan moved
to the DMDK in September 2007. And in the recent elections, he won the
Virudhunagar assembly seat.

Of course, the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu meant a lot to the
state's SCs and STs, he says. "There is no greater icon than Periyar.
But unlike Tamil Nadu, movements from the Bimaru belt have taken on
specific caste connotations," he points out. Affirmative action may be
finding political traction now in 'Rest of India', but Pandia Rajan's
strong views distinguish him from others from similar background who
have made it big, especially in the services sector, where the big
boys rule the game.


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